Let’s Do it Again…
Thanks to my bro Kompel and the big homie Fred Hawkins, I had the good fortune of performing an impromptu set last month at ImageNation‘s “Raw Space” in Harlem and meeting some great people. One such person is Dj BlackIcon, who hosts The 3rd Dimension at Dusk radio show on WHCR (90.3 FM) from City College in Harlem. It’s a significant thing to me because this is a station I used to listen to daily back when I was a 16 year old Malik and not Malik 16.
I say all of this to say tune in tonight at 9PM because fresh off the heels of releasing my very first official single yesterday, BlackIcon will be blasting off my song “Ain’t No Sun” (also produced by K.Lio/Jim Nastic who produced “I Go”). This is a song I performed accapella at Raw space and won the crowd over with the biting social commentary. More of that balance that you expect from me. A hyped up song yesterday followed by reality rap. This is from my forthcoming mixtape, Party of 1: The Best Rapper Never Heard and will be my first time ever getting radio play. Let’s call it the start of something wonderful. Let’s Gooooooo!!
You can also check it out streaming online tonight at http://whcr.org/ & http://whcr.org/SHOW_PROFILE/third_dimensions_at_dusk.html
And if you haven’t gotten the single yet, here’s that link https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/i-go-single/id595070841
Sitting in NYU‘s Cantor Film Center amongst a slew of Hip-Hop’s apparent neo taste – makers, the revolutionary sounds from the acclaimed lyricist’s third solo album thumped with enough force to fill out the auditorium space and keep heads nodding throughout.
The album, being released through the legendary underground indie label, Duck Down, is Monch’s third (due to his claims of being “a slow writer”) and most focused effort. Showcasing the full range of skills that he’s displayed here and there on his previous albums, he goes into different pockets and zones while maintaining a consistent tone that falls in line with his overall message of bucking the system…Whatever you interpret that system to be through the loosely conceptual trip that he takes you on as you listen to W.A.R.
With Pharoahe and his manager taking turns on stage explaining the recording and thought process behind each song and the project as a whole, we get a peek into the mind of the artist following a viewing of an overly dramatic commercial spot for the album. I look behind me, and find that I’m sitting in front of Duck Down records head Dru Ha, and I FINALLY get to see Jean Grae in person (worth it!). I look to the side, and see a bunch of familiar faces. Those of my peers. I look in front, and see the man of the hour himself. He looks a little nervous, like the few other times I’ve seen him, but at the same time he looks confident…Like he’ll die for the words he put on every track of this album. As he should be.
The commercial was actually the intro for the actual album, featuring a voice-over from Idris Elba. It leads us to the introductory song, “Calculated Amalgamation” that is equally dramatic and futuristic sounding. It’s clamorous and dark, reminiscent of Monch’s work as one half of Organized Konfusion back in the 90’s. But what makes this project so crispy and refreshing is the inclusion of live instrumentation, mainly at the endings of each track. Instrumentalists from groups such as Soulive and the legendary In Living Colour join in to accomplish that. This aides in tying together the songs and keeping a cohesive feel despite the varying musical influences and sounds. The fluctuation is also balanced out by the sequencing that establishes moods juxtaposed in ways that help the linear movement. The early part of the album is boisterous and aggressive. It smooths out in the middle, allowing subtler themes of revolution to take the lead before growing loud and harder once again towards the end.
By the time we reach the incendiary first single “Clap”, it becomes understood why it needed to be accompanied by a video which doubles as a mini-movie starring who most of you may know as “Chris”, the emotionless hitman for “Marlo” of The Wire fame. The message is striking, still creative, but this is the beginning of the midpoint of the album where the boom meets an air of soulfulness.
Pharoahe is at his wordsmith best, marrying punchlines with political pointing and poignant sentiments about social norms and ills. Highlights include “The Hitman”, where he metaphorically takes on the industry Status Quo, “Black Hand Side” feat. Styles P and Phonte, and the electric revival of “Let My People Go”.
There were plenty of messages thru the course of the night. The most important; Support true artistry and spread the word. Most importantly..Don’t bootleg his shit!! Hence no clips of the videos or songs in this post. But the album officially drops on March 22nd and the mini-movie will be included with every purchase. If you are a pharoahe fan or even if you aren’t and this post has piqued your interest in some way, I say it’s going to be one of the most memorable releases of the year! This is what Hip-Hop is about. As someone who’s always been a passive Pharoahe listener, I can say that I’ve been put on to the movement.
As always, like we usually seem to do at least 1nce a year, My extended fam – The Soul Brothers are putting on Another Soul Jam at Harlem‘s own BlackStar Music And Video.
And Iam the special guest sharing the bill doing what I do best!
This not only marks the reunion of the 2 members, Fred Hawkins and Prince Hottness The Cure, but it’s also a return to glory that should see the event go back to the essence of the very first event at BlackStar. This will officially be the third run and the second show this year, counting this summer’s go-round without PHTC.
This time, it’s back to the basics; A Live band, FREE drinks and Dope New music and some crowd favorites. All that’s being asked is your humble $2 Donation. Hear that?? Donation, meaning you don’t have to, but why be so fucking cheap???!
Support Harlem’s last Black owned, Black operated, Video and music retailer. Support Good music and upcoming artists. Support Dope Hip-Hop performers….We’re Rare! I’ll be bringing up my group, The Have-Knotz, as well, to prepare for our debut.
Show is Saturday, December 18th @ 7:00. BlackStar is located on Lenox avenue in Harlem between 128th and 129th streets. Let’s do it big!
Yeah, you read right. Courtesy of every East Coasters’ favorite means of public interstate transportation, Brandon will be embarking on a short Fall tour up and down the Mid-Atlantic. There’s even a Florida stop, and as you guessed it, I might pop up on a few of these dates. Maybe even with my Have-Knotz crew! Be sure to check BrandonCarter.com to stay posted on more show dates or any changes.